TORONTO — Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray announced Sunday he will run for the provincial Liberal leadership.
Murray made the announcement at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in front of media and supporters, including former provincial cabinet minister George Smitherman. Murray is the first candidate to formally enter the race.
The platform outlined by Murray includes tax cuts for small businesses and the middle class. Murray did not provide details for how Ontario will finance tax cuts while it faces record debt levels, but said he will release his proposal in greater detail in the coming days.
“I am the only candidate in the race who has ever led a government before and has a good record for reducing deficit and reducing taxes and I plan to bring that same experience.”
“I’ve been big city mayor. I have successfully led a large government through similar challenges as we face now,” he told reporters.
Murray served as the mayor of Winnipeg from 1998-2004.
Murray referred to the campaign as the Liberal Party’s chance for renewal, saying, “It is time to press the reset the button.” The idea of renewal is explicated in the domain name for his (not entirely functioning) campaign website, renewliberal.ca.
Yet Murray spent much of his stage time endorsing the McGuinty government’s achievements over the past few years, particularly its gains in education.
Murray also discussed his proposal for “no-money-down” university or college tuition, which would let students enter postsecondary school without having to come up with large amounts of tuition money upfront.
The other ideas forming the pillars of Murray’s platform include “cities and towns that work,” “government that listens” and “smart government.”
As a downtown MPP, Murray is likely to face challenges garnering the rural vote. If elected, Murray said he would sit down with rural communities to rethink the feed-in tariff program that is unpopular in these regions.
“We need to democratize and localize our energy planning,” Murray says. He did not say he would abolish the program or remove it from unhappy communities.
Murray submitted his resignation as the province’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Friday. Premier Dalton McGuinty ruled that members of his cabinet must step down from their portfolios in order to enter the leadership race. Government House Leader John Milloy will be sworn in to replace Murray’s portfolio early this week.
Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne resigned from her Municipal Affairs and Housing and Aboriginal Affairs portfolios last week. Wynne will make her leadership announcement at Toronto’s Japanese Cultural Centre Monday evening.
by Allison Smith